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Between 20% to 50% of industrial energy input is lost as waste heat in the form of hot exhaust gases, cooling water and energy loss from generating equipment. Vibrations and variable heating are a common form of waste energy in motors, generators, power cables exposed to ambient temperatures, fuel exhausts from vehicles, and various types of heavy machinery. The recovery of even a fraction of this lost energy would have a transformational impact on the utility industry since the demand for energy is increasing and the impact of this demand on the environment is significant. Recent technical breakthroughs in new composite materials and energy storage devices make waste energy harvesting a practical alternative energy source. An energy harvesting system or harvester consists of a material such as a piezoelectric or pyroelectric composite to convert wasted heat or kinetic energy into electricity and the electronics and components for voltage conversion and energy storage.

In the current research we investigate and develop hybrid piezoelectric and pyroelectric systems to harvest waste energy. For this reason, six different experimental set up have been prepared to maximize the harvested energy for the hybrid case. Based on this work we provide a comprehensive review of the opportunities, potential scalability and practical limitations of energy harvesters as a new and potentially transformational alternative energy source. So, the wide-scale incorporation of energy harvesting systems to recover wasted heat and kinetic energy could have a dramatic impact on energy and environmental conservation efforts.

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Energy Harvesting, piezoelectricity, pyroelectricity


Engineering | Life Sciences | Physical Sciences and Mathematics

Faculty Advisor/Mentor

Dr. Karla M. Mossi

Hybrid Energy Harvesting